Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Canyon Lake AZ: Traveling with the departed

I hadn’t realized when we began our drive to Saguaro and Canyon Lake near Mesa AZ that we’d be heading to the mountain lake my daughter Francesca told me about during her brief sojourn working in Phoenix when she was 19, but as we climbed into those arid mountains her words came back to me.

“Oh, Mama. You’d love it. The lake is tucked right into the mountains. You can’t imagine the view from the rocks. Oh I do wish you’d see it.” Her excitement had bubbled over the phone lines from Arizona to Minnesota.

My husband and I had chosen the perfect time to spend a few days in Phoenix. Everything was blooming, including the desert. I was stunned by the wonderful colors of the arid heights – the rocky cliffs striated in ocher and burnt orange, the sweeping expanses of blue and lavender, red and yellow flowers spreading above and below us.

Since Francesca’s death in 2001, I’ve carried that beautiful child with me in my heart to all the places we’d traveled since then. I'd so wanted her to see them. But here, as we topped Canyon Lake she was showing me.

© Beryl Singleton Bissell 2008

The Minneapolis Star Tribune named Beryl as a "Best of 2006 Minnesota Authors." Her book The Scent of God was a “Notable” Book Sense selection for April 2006. She is a columnist for the Cook County News Herald and has been published in anthologies and periodicals nationwide.


christine said...

I can't believe I'm just discovering your beautiful writing and photos. A lovely place you visited. so sad, the line about your daughter, yet very uplifting how she showed you the place she had always wanted you to visit. I will take a look at the memoir. As a mother, your loss pulls at my heartstrings. We are all a part of the mothering of each other's children.

Enjoy your retreat!

Diana Raabe said...

Incredible, Beryl!

Jo said...

So sorry, Beryl, yes I believe she was showing you. What beautiful words. Enjoy the retreat.

Jo said...

A beautiful, beautiful post. I'm so sorry about your daughter.

tinker said...

The photos - the place, so lovely. What a beautiful tribute to your daughter, and the love that continues on...